Shark Night 3D
Monty Python’s Jaws
by Glenn Lovell
It’s simple arithmetic. If 20 million viewers tune in to watch divers cuddle up to sharks without suffering so much as an abrasion during TV’s “Shark Week,” millions more will tune in when guaranteed the real thing, real people being ripped to ribbons in a weekly feeding frenzy.
That’s the cynical premise behind “Shark Night 3D,” which the producers are hoping you’ll confuse with the marginally better “Fright Night” and “Piranha 3D.”
In one of many hilariously addled scenes, a character defends the idea of hardcore underwater snuff films to a guy who’s about to become dinner.
“There’s no such thing as sick anymore … It’s beyond good and evil! Someone has to raise the bar.”
And who says exploitation can’t be educational? I bet you didn’t expect a lecture in moral relativism with your holiday dose of T&A and gore. Could it be that the screenwriters saw this abortion as “Jaws” with a Dostoyevskian slant? Yeah, sure, and “Piranha 3D” was an exercise in Pirandellian absurdity.
More crude thrills from stuntman-turned-director David R. Ellis (“Snakes on a Plane”), “Shark Night” features seven good-looking actors as college students vacationing on Lake Crosby in the Louisiana Delta. They’re all, of course, prime shark bait. It’s only a matter of time when composer Graeme Revell’s familiar hydraulic score kicks in. The only question is: How will they buy it? Water-skiing? Jet-skiing? At the hands of local yokels straight out of “Deliverance”? (One redneck even goes by “Red.”)
What are sharks ‒ bulls, hammerheads, threshers ‒ doing in a fresh-water lake? Blame it on global warming and Hurricane Katrina or the aforementioned hayseed researchers upsetting the balance of nature.
Because this is a 3D event, Ellis and crew include CG sharks, big and small, charging the camera with their toothsome snouts. Some even become airborne, snatching at least one hapless soul from a tree. That classic SNL skit featuring a door-to-door land shark comes to mind.
The real reason for 3D? String-bikini booty, of course.
When confronted with a film this bad, you take your laughs when you can find them. My favorite bit has the seriously maimed jock (Sinqua Walls) ‒ now minus his throwing arm ‒ wading back into the water with a spear, determined to have his revenge. He doesn’t say it, but we yelled it anyway, “Tis but a scratch, sire, a mere flesh wound!”
SHARK NIGHT 3D With Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Sinqua Walls. Directed by David R. Ellis; scripted by Will Hayes, Jesse Studenberg. 91 min. PG-13 (for tame sexual situations, numerous shark attacks)